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Bad conscience dilemma

Started by forever spring, May 25, 2013, 04:58:18 PM

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forever spring

I haven't been here for a while but feel I could do with the wise women listening to my dilemma.
DS left small family in November 2011 (situation described in earlier posts). Since then his ex-wife has not allowed him to see the children on a regular basis. We have only seen the GC three times since then.
However, DH and me get emails from ex-wife and her parents on a more or less regular basis to ask us to see GC and have a relationship with them. The other grandfather send an email to DH to plead for understanding his daughter and her motivation for not letting my DS see the children. Emails from this family are always full of abuse against DS.  DH is adamant that we can't do anything as long as our DS is unable to see his children and I agree.
DH and I have decided not to respond to either ex-DIL or her parents until some sort of visiting right habe been established between DS and his children (our GK). This has now happened as DS went to court and can have the children one day a week and every other Sunday.
I have an extremely bad conscience for having cut all the ties with the other GP and my ex-DIL. I got on well with the fellow GPs when DS was still there.
I'm the kind of person who wants to be friends with everybody and not having responded to emails makes me feel almost sick. I think about it all the time. On the other hand I know if I got in touch with ex-DIL and her parents, I'd risk to alienate DH and DS. It's really painful because I'm also thinking of the children who are between two camps. I so want to go to the house of their mummy and spend time with them there but feel my hands are tied. (Mind you, I did have a very volatile relationship with exDIL when she was still DIL but now I'm so sorry for the pain she has to suffer because of what DS did to her. I also have a feeling that she has changed and we could forge some sort of relationship but I'm not sure).
Thanks for listening dear WWU community.


FS - Good to hear from you. I can see have tangled all of that is, for sure, no matter what you do. I think I would talk to DS and DH and let them know that to be fair, each one of you has decide for him/herself...and it's up to the others to respect that. Having others decide for you...and expecting your loyalty to them to influence your choices feels outdated to me. Many of us used to do that...if we loved someone, we had to love and abide by their choices. Not so true seen as more of an abusive stance when demanded. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


FS, I'm glad you turned to the WW here. Perhaps when things cool down and a new lives are established it won't be so difficult. You're a good person - that's why your conscience is bothering you. You'll find your way with all this in time, don't you think? We're rooting for you :)
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb


I can see how awkward this is for you. Have you tried talking to your DH and DS explaining how desperate you are to see your grandchildren?

Regarding the in-laws and the emails, I think you can cover that (should they ask) by saying you were worried about upsetting DS.

I am inclined to think they would be happy to welcome you back into the fold. They love the GC too and it seems to me they recognise the value for them of having you in their lives.

If it were me, I would follow my heart.


That's a tough position forever. 

I have to say, for me personally, I always put the children first.  What is the most important thing for them? 

DS/XDIL/XINLAWS have to make their own decisions and although I know you want to stick up for DS, what's going on between DS and XDIL has nothing to do with them.  I would continue my relationship with the GC and hopefully DS/XDIL will resolve their issues about them.
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell

forever spring

Thank you so much for your replies. I knew I would find a sympathetic ear in the WWU community.
The general consensus seems to be that I should ignore DH and DS and do what my heart tells me. I'm my own person and DH respects what I do.
I have been unable to do anything myself so far because I thought if DS can't see his own children, then it's not my place to see them in the house of XDIL as they would be even more alienated from their DF.
In the past I have written kind, sympathetic emails to XDIL which were immediately forwarded to DS to let him know that even his parents are against him. I once gave her the reference for a book entitled: How to help children cope with your divorce'. She accused me of mental cruelty. (She may have been right, as it wasn't my place to do this, I know now.)
That's why I'm so cautious and quite frankly afraid that I may do more harm  than good by establishing a relationship with XDIL at this point in time.
DS can see the children on a regular basis now and we can see them with DS. I don't think this is a good situation for the GC because they must feel the rift between the two people they love most - their parents. The children are so young that they won't understand and I'm worried what this will do to their souls and their future behavior may be affected by this.
On a positive note, they are loved by both their parents and both set of GPs, that's for sure. There will always be people who care for them.
Maybe it is not a good time to re-establish contact with my XDIL now, but if I don't do it now, I may have lost the opportunity for ever. I'm so torn.
I lost my mother when I was 9, so I know what it is like to grow up in circumstances far from normal - I so wanted my children to have a normal life and I thought that because me and DH stayed together, they would have good role models and do the same, but alas, that has not happened, at least with one son. It is bad to know that the other family hates my DS and that he has so disappointed them.
I guess I have to go through this dark time and wait for the moment when I know that it is right to make contact with XDIL again and do so for better or for worse. I feel, however, that this moment has not come yet and at the same time I fear that I may lose or have even already lost the opportunity.
Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my post. I really do appreciate it very much indeed.


The main thing is for you to be able to see your GC.  May I suggest you share the precious time allotted to your DS? I don't think it would make much difference to your GC at all where you see them. It could possibly cause tension if you see them at exDIL's home at the moment.

What is important for your GC is to feel the love from your DH and DS. Creating happy memories and having a nice time. Who knows, in time, your DS may get more time allowed with the GC, especially if the court knows he has your support and help. It may be a good idea to wait for exDIL to make contact with you.


It seems like the situation has been resolved somewhat.  I don't want to be overly pessimistic, but the reality is, custody arrangements can change in a heartbeat.  You should consider what you will do if DS is once again denied access to his kids.  I agree with Pooh - the kids come first.  You shouldn't feel guilty about seeing your GC even if DS can't.  As long as DIL and other GPs aren't demanding you say nasty things about your DS while visiting, you can visit with GC no matter where with a clean conscience.  Seeing your GC doesn't subtract from your love and support of your DS.  If DS was harassing you for seeing the GC when he was denied access, I'd question his priorities.  Divorced parents are often told to love their children more than they hate each other.  That's good advice for a lot of extended family.  If the GP are cut off from one AC/DIL/SIL, that doesn't mean their other AC should cold-shoulder their sibling/spouse/grandchildren in a misguided sense of loyalty.  The other AC (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) can be a bridge for the estranged family members. 

I hope things go smoothly from here on in.  Good luck to you and your DS and your GC.